What is floater laser treatment?

Yag vitreolysis  or Floater Laser Treatment is a non-invasive, pain-free laser procedure  that can reduce or eliminate the visual disturbances caused by floaters.  Clinical studies have shown vitreolysis to be a highly effective and relatively safe treatment.

Dr. Parent performs the treatment in office and the patient has no post-operative restrictions.  The procedure usually takes 10-20 minutes to complete.  The procedure may need to be repeated if symptoms persist.  Medicare and some commercial insurances cover Yag vitreolysis.

What are floaters?

The small specks, “bugs”, or clouds that you may sometimes see moving in your field of vision are called floaters. They are frequently visible when looking at a plain background, such as a blank wall or blue sky. Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cellular debris within the vitreous, the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside cavity of the eye. Although these objects appear to be in front of the eye, they are actually floating in the fluid inside the eye and cast their shadows on the retina.

What causes floaters?

The vitreous gel degenerates in middle age, often forming microscopic clumps or strands within the eye. Vitreous shrinking or condensation is called a posterior vitreous detachment, and is a common cause of floaters. It also occurs frequently in nearsighted people or in those who have undergone cataract operations or laser surgeries.

The appearance of floaters may be alarming, especially if they develop suddenly. However, they are usually nothing to be concerned about, and simply result from the normal aging process.

Are floaters ever serious?

Occasionally, the retina is torn when degenerating vitreous gel pulls away. This causes a small amount of bleeding in the eye, which may appear as a group of floaters. A torn retina can be serious if it develops into a retinal detachment. Any sudden onset of many new floaters or flashes of light should be promptly evaluated by your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

What causes flashing lights?

When the vitreous gel which fills the inside of the eye rubs or pulls on the retina, it sometimes produces the illusion of flashing lights or lightning streaks which only lasts for seconds. The flashes of light may appear intermittently for several weeks or months. This phenomenon commonly occurs, as we grow older and is usually not cause for concern. As with floaters, if you experience the abrupt onset of many light flashes, your optometrist or ophthalmologist should examine you.